Via video screenshot
Bangladesh Was Next Stop After Controversial Visit To Myanmar
Pope Francis landed in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, yesterday. He was greeted at the airport by the Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid. He was gifted a jar of earth and flowers by two children wearing traditional dress. The pontiff blessed them. A number of civil authorities and political dignitaries were also present. There were 10 Bangladeshi bishops, 40 children, and a few faithful. The children performed traditional Bangladeshi dances for the pope.
The pontiff traveled directly from the airport to National Martyr’s Memorial. It is situated in Savar and considered as Bangladesh’s national monument. It was erected in memory of those who lost lives fighting the Pakistani army during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. The outcome was Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan. A flower wreath was placed by the pope at the memorial. He also signed Book of Honor. A tree was also planted by him in Garden of Peace, situated adjoining the memorial.
Pope Francis’s second visit was to Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Memorial Museum. The museum was built to honor Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh. The latter was assassinated along with a majority of his family members in August 1975. The honorific title ‘Father of the Nation’ is given to Rahman as he played a vital role in securing the independence of the country. The museum was established in 1994. It preserves the former residence of the patriot Sheik Mujibur Rahman and also the place where he met his end.
Family members of the Late Bangbandhu welcomed the pope into Bangabandhu Memorial Museum. A flower wreath was placed by him at this museum. The pontiff uttered a silent prayer. He signed the museum’s Book of Honor. He then went to the presidential palace (a private visit) where he met President Abdul Hamid. He is expected to give speeches when he will meet civil society, the diplomatic corps, and the authorities.
The pope flew to Dhaka from Myanmar, where he was forced to walk the diplomatic tightrope. He did not utter a direct word against the Myanmar army which is allegedly waging a war against the Rohingyas. Critics have described this military campaign as ‘ethnic cleansing’. The pontiff stayed quiet despite many pleading with him to publicly confront the Myanmarese authorities about this issue. He had a number of private meetings with Min Aung Hlaing, the army chief, and Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader.